Former Sweetwater Commissioner Sophia Lacayo's campaign finance fiasco shocks Miami-Dade County
In a Miami-Dade political scandal that could rival any gripping telenovela plot, former Sweetwater Commissioner Sophia Lacayo finds herself in the hot seat. While running for the Miami-Dade County Commission in 2022, Lacayo allegedly violated campaign finance laws, leading to a total of 21 criminal accusations against her.
These include felonies and misdemeanors. This captivating tale of deceit and alleged misconduct has taken an intriguing twist in the Magic City.
Sophia Lacayo's trail of deception unfolds
Former Sweetwater Commissioner Sophia Lacayo's legal quagmire has taken center stage with a staggering 21 criminal charges, leaving Miami-Dade County residents in shock. Among these charges are eight third-degree felonies and thirteen first-degree misdemeanors. Lacayo is accused of manipulating campaign donations, including making contributions under other people's names and accepting donations that exceeded legal limits. According to state law, the maximum term for a felony conviction is five years in prison, while the maximum sentence for a misdemeanor conviction is one year in jail.
In a statement, State's Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle claimed Lacayo intentionally broke state and county campaign funding regulations. She said that Lacayo hid the source of the campaign funding by using a web of several bank accounts. Fernandez Rundle emphasized the importance of transparent elections, stating that such actions could not be tolerated in their pursuit.
From Sweetwater to sweet nothings
Sophia Lacayo's political career has been riddled with controversies. She resigned from her position on the Sweetwater Commission in September 2020 after pleading guilty to having lied during her campaign about her place of residence.
Her County Commission campaign last year received the maximum allowable amount of money from firms registered under her name, raising suspicions about whether or not she had used state Paycheck Protection Program loans. In addition, Sweetwater is suing her to recover almost $70,000 in compensation she fraudulently collected while acting as a Commissioner.
Additionally, Lacayo Trade Group, Lacayo's firm, is embroiled in six legal proceedings totaling $350,000 over different debts and labor issues. She has a $25 million net worth, according to her tax return from 2022. The mystery surrounding her tumultuous political career is only deepened by the fact that she ran against and lost to former Doral Mayor Juan Carlos "J.C." Bermudez, who ran on a smaller budget yet won with 66% of the vote.
As this gripping saga unfolds, the residents of Miami-Dade County can't help but watch in astonishment at the twists and turns in Sophia Lacayo's tumultuous career.
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